At the core of the international liberal elites is a hollow.  Nothing confirms this so much as an advertisement published in Thursday's New York Times that costs anywhere from $50,000 to $150,000 depending on the ideological proximity of the sponsors to the editorial positions of the paper.  Now, I don't really know how much cash was transferred to the Times for printing this hokey pronouncement. But I bet it wasn't anywheres near top rate.  In any case, the statement and its signatories were put together by the Partnership For A Secure America (whatever that means or is) and the United Nations Foundation, which was founded by that profound thinker Ted Turner who is also one of the endorsers of the manifesto.

The principles of "We Agree: Renew the U.S.-UN Relationship" are not exactly dangerous.  But they aren't anodyne either. Instead, they are portentous in the sense that the document presumes to address significant issues while what it actually does is simply assert high-minded attitudes. But they are high-minded attitudes altogether out of context.  And worse: in utterly distorted context.  All addressed to the United States and, at least inferentially, to Barack Obama.

Here, actually, is one of its nine points that is utterly banal: "Place well-qualified Americans in open positions at the UN."  Still, there is some ambiguity in its meaning?  Does it mean in all positions on the U.S. representation to the organization?  Or for the United Nations positions reserved for the American quota?  Maybe both.  Anyway, what do the signatories presume?  That President-elect Obama, Secretary-designate Clinton and Ambassador-presumptive Susan Rice (a person I suspect I've under-rated or maybe over-blamed in the past) are going to place ill-qualified Americans in these positions?

Here's one that's totally out of context: "Help the growing workload assigned to UN peacekeeping by providing logistical and management expertise and support needed to enhance UN capacities."  Being about the UN, the command is quite naturally built on gobbledygook.   But it insinuates a falsehood, and that is that it is the U.S., rather than, say, China and Russia, that cripple U.N. peacekeeping.

Here's my favorite that assumes fixability of one of the U.N. organs, the Human Rights Council, but one that is simply unfixable.  "Obtain a seat on the faltering Human Rights Council and work to influence it from within."   This assumes that the United States had not expended energy, thought, resources and diplomatic capital on taking the Human Rights Council (and, before that, the Human Rights Commission) from the absolute control of the worst abridgers and aborters of freedoms in the international arena.  The fact is that the U.N. is dominated by countries which themselves are traducers of human rights or by countries that really don't care a fig about violations of liberties unless, of course, they can attribute somehow them to Israel.  The Council is actually a council on Israel.  Nothing more, nothing less.  America has little sway with the two of the five permanent members of the Security Council or with many of the 150-off governments in the General Assembly which are in New York as a vacation from home.

Please take a look at this innocent-sounding but pernicious document.

Which names other than Ted Turner are affixed to this document?  There are 38 including the excitable Mme. Albright, General Scowcroft, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Lee Hamilton who is the axiomatic co-chairman of any national bi-partisan commission that is set up for any reason or excuse.  Also Sandy Berger who, though unable to heed the simplest rules of national security, still purports to tell the city and the world what to do.  Rita Hauser, well, too angry, too pathetic and too unknown to characterize.  And Gary Hart who managed George McGovern's 1972 campaign, still has McGovern's politics and once ran for the Democratic nomination for president from which running he escaped when caught doing "monkee business."  Almost all of these eminences are aged.  Their ideas might have made some sense when the United Nations was founded six decades ago in Flushing Meadows, Lake Success, New York.